MADRID — Spain’s defense minister expects a “long and cruel” war in Ukraine.
Margarita Robles said Friday that killings and alleged torture of civilians in the town of Bucha were “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to atrocities committed since Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
Evidence of the violence against civilians emerged after Russian forces pulled out of the town on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv.
Robles told Antena 3 that an expected Russian offensive in the eastern Donbas region — where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014 — will likely bring more horror.
She predicted increased “cruelty” would be inflicted by Russian forces in the region.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Officials say Russian missile kills 30 civilians at train station
— EU imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters
— Key Polish leader bashes Hungary’s Orban, longtime ally, over stance on Ukraine
— Congress votes to suspend Russia trade status, enact oil ban
— U.N. General Assembly votes to suspend Russia from UN rights council
— UN aid chief: ‘I’m not optimistic’ about Ukraine cease-fire
— Russia is moving troops and focus toward the east, but that strategy carries risks as well
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Prime Minister Eduard Heger says Slovakia has donated its Soviet-era S-300 air defense system to Ukraine.
The comments from Heger came as he was visiting the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv with top EU officials ahead of a planned meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.
Zelenskyy mentioned S-300s by name when he spoke to U.S. lawmakers by video last month, appealing for defense systems that would allow Ukraine to “close the skies” to Russian warplanes and missiles.
NATO members Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece have the S-300s, which can fire missiles hundreds of kilometers (miles) and knock out cruise missiles as well as warplanes.
Slovakia previously said it was willing to give its S-300 to Ukraine on condition that it has a proper replacement.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian officials are raising the death toll from a missile strike on a packed train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, as local hospitals buckled under an influx of injured victims.
Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said an updated count showed 39 people were killed in Friday’s strike. Ukrainian officials had earlier put the figure at around 30. Officials put the number of injured anywhere from 87 to as many as 300.
Kramatorsk mayor Oleksandr Goncharenko told Ukrainian TV that between 30 and 40 surgeons were treating the wounded, and hospitals were unable to cope with the surge in admissions.
The office of Ukraine’s prosecutor-general said about 4,000 civilians were in and around the station, most of them women and children. The Ukrainian government has been urging to leave the area before an expected new offensive by Russian forces.
Russian-backed separatists control part of the Donestsk region, but Kramatorsk remains under Ukrainian government control.
BRUSSELS — The European Union has returned its ambassador to Ukraine to the capital, Kyiv, in a move that underscores the improved security situation there and the 27-nation bloc’s commitment to the beleaguered country.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made the announcement Friday during a visit to Kyiv where he joined EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Borrell said the ambassador’s return would help ensure that the EU and Ukraine’s government can work together more directly and closely.
Russian forces sought to enter Kyiv in the days after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine but despite severe losses and damage, the city withstood the attacks and the government was able to continue functioning from there.
Borrell called it “impressive” that Ukraine’s government was fully functioning under “the very difficult circumstances.”
ROME — The United Nations says prices for world food commodities like grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever last month due to fallout from the war in Ukraine.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday its Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, recorded a double-digit percentage-point increase in March from the record level already set the previous month.
FAO said the index came in at 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February’s all-time high since the index was created in 1990.
The Rome-based agency says the war in Ukraine was largely responsible for the 17.1% rise in prices for cereals, including…
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